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Baker v. Macomber

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 26, 2017

TIMOTHY RAY BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
J. MACOMBER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner at California State Prison Sacramento (CSP-SAC), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action against sole remaining defendant Correctional Officer J. McCowan. In his original complaint, plaintiff contends that defendant McCowan's conduct on August 10, 2012 constituted excessive force and deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Presently pending is plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, ECF No. 50; plaintiff's initial request for court intervention to locate his legal materials, ECF No. 52; and plaintiff's request for leave to file a motion for sanctions based on the repeated confiscation of his property, ECF No. 58. For the reasons that follow, the court grants in part plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, and denies his request for leave to file a sanctions motion. The court will reset the deadline for plaintiff's opposition to defendant's motion for summary judgment.

         II. Plaintiff's Legal Materials, February 2017

         On February 15, 2017, plaintiff requested the court's intervention in locating and returning his legal materials. See ECF No. 52. The court requested that the Office of the California Attorney General inquire into the location of plaintiff's legal materials and his access to them. See ECF No. 56. On March 29, 2017, CSP-SAC Correctional Officer R. Kendall, the Property Officer assigned to the Administrative Segregation Unit's A-6 Block where plaintiff was then housed, filed and served a declaration which provides in pertinent part:

2. As a Correctional Officer in the unit, I have received training on the proper ways to package, store, seal, and catalog an inmate's property. An inmate's property is solely in the custody of CDCR when an inmate is on limited property access or temporarily away from the facility.
3. I was asked by the Office of the Attorney General to account for inmate Baker's legal property following his January 27 2017 assignment to Administrative Segregation.
4. On January 27 2017, I received notice to pack Baker's cell as he was assigned to Administrative Segregation. Inmates housed in Administrative Segregation are not permitted to have the same amount of property as general population inmates. I was tasked with then packing Baker's excess property and putting it into storage to hold for him until he was not [sic] longer housed in Administrative Segregation. During the packing process, each of Baker's eight boxes were labeled and sealed with tape to protect the contents. Additionally, a CDCR Form 1083 was generated to log any instances where the inmate or any member of staff accessed the property.
5. On January 31, 2017, Baker returned to general population.
6. On February 22 2017, Baker signed a CDCR Form 143 acknowledging that he had received his eight boxes of property. A true and correct copy of the CDCR Form 143 is attached as Exhibit A.
7. On February 22 2017, Baker's eight boxes of property were returned with their originally-taped seal in place. Additionally, the CDCR Form 1083 did not note that anyone had tampered with or opened Baker's property boxes. There is no indication that anyone tampered place with Baker's property.

ECF No. 57 at 1-3.

         A copy of the CDCR Form 143 pertinent to plaintiff's property is attached to and consistent with Officer Kendall's declaration. See ECF No. 57 at 5 (Ex. A).

         The court is satisfied that plaintiff obtained possession of his legal materials on February 22, 2017, shortly after he initially requested the court's assistance.

         III. Plaintiff's Legal Materials, March 2017

         On March 27, 2017, plaintiff signed and mailed a “Request for Leave to File a Motion for Sanctions Against Defendants, ” based on the March 23, 2017 confiscation of his legal and personal property. See ECF No. 58. Plaintiff avers that when he was returned to “General Population Main Line C Yard” on March 23, 2017, “Officer[] Jones, Officer Moore, and Property Room Officer G. Presel” took plaintiff's property because Sergeant Porter directed that it be inventoried. Id. at 1. Plaintiff states that his property “had already been inventoried and cleared for issuance to plaintiff on 3/23/2017 by C/O R. Kendall of A Facility 6-Block EOP prior to plaintiff's return to the GP Main Line on said date.” Id. Plaintiff contends that “Property Room Officer G. Presel is deliberately withholding plaintiff's legal/personal property out of race based retaliation against plaintiff for him filing grievances and suits against CSP-Sacramento co-workers and superiors.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that his property is being withheld as leverage to get plaintiff to sign a “1083 Property Inventory Sheet” for whatever property may be returned to him, which “means that plaintiff's lost, stolen, damaged property will be taken as a sacrifice if plaintiff signs the 1083.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff avers that he has not seen his property since March 24, 2017, when it “was all disarranged and mixed up and put in plastic bags.” Id. Plaintiff requests that the court enforce or reissue its order filed March 15, 2017, again direct an inquiry into the location of plaintiff's property and impose sanction on “defendants” in the amount of $10, 000.

         The correctional officers alleged to have recently confiscated plaintiff's property are not defendants in this action. For that reason, plaintiff cannot pursue a retaliation claim or seek sanctions against these officers in this action. Further, this court has no authority to intervene in the temporary confiscation of property associated with a change in housing. See e.g., Shaw v. Chang, 2015 WL 355497, at *6, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10625, at *18-9 (N.D. Cal. 2015) and cases cited therein (due process not implicated in the temporary loss of personal property due to a prisoner's housing move or reclassification). Because plaintiff indicates that his property is being withheld because he has refused to sign a property inventory form, the court will not involve itself further.

         Plaintiff's “Request for Leave to File a Motion for Sanctions Against Defendants” will be denied.

         IV. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery

         Plaintiff moves to compel further responses to Plaintiff's Interrogatories, Set One, and Plaintiff's Request for Production of Documents, Set One. See ECF No. 50. Defendant has opposed the motion. See ECF No. 51. The requests and disputed responses are addressed in numerical order.[1]

         A. Plaintiff's Interrogatories, Set One

         Plaintiff moves for further responses to all ten of the interrogatories he propounded. For the reasons set forth below, defendant will be required to serve supplemental responses to plaintiff's Interrogatory Nos. 2, 7 and 8, as construed below.

         1. Interrogatory No. 1

         INTERROGATORY NO. 1: Identify any and all documents relating to use of force and reporting the use of force policies and procedures.

         RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 1: Responding party states that the following sections of Title 15 are responsive: 3268, 3268.1, 3268.2, 3268.3, and 3279. Responding party states that the following sections of the Department Operations Manual are responsive: 51020.1, 51020.2, 51020.3, 51020.4, 51020.5, 51020.6, 51020.7, 51020.8, 51020.9, 51020.10, 51020.11, 51020.12, 51020.12.1, 51020.12.2, 51020.12.3, 51020.12.4, 51020.12.5, 51020.12.6, 51020.17, 51020.17.1, 51020.17.2, 51020.17.3, 51020.17.4, 51020.17.5, 51020.17.6, 51020.17.7, 51020.17.8, 51020.18, 51020.18.1, 51020.18.2, 51020.19, 51020.19.1, 51020.19.2, 51020.19.3, 51020.19.4, 51020.19.5, 51020.21, 51020.22, 51030.1, 51030.2, 51030.3, 51030.4, 51030.4.1, 51030.4.2, 51030.5, 51030.5.1, 51030.5.2, and 51030.6.

         PLAINTIFF'S CHALLENGE: “I specifically asked defendant to identify not cite or quote the sections in the (DOM) Department Operational Manual.” ECF No. 50 at 3.[2]

         DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION: “Plaintiff provides no explanation for how Defendant McCowan's response was deficient. (ECF No. 50 at 3.) Indeed, Plaintiff's interrogatory specifically asks McCowan to identify all documents relating to use of force reporting and the above-mentioned documents are responsive to this request. Thus, McCowan should not be compelled to further respond.” ECF No. 51 at 2.

         Ruling: Defendant's response to Interrogatory No. 1 is satisfactory for the reasons stated by defendant; the court finds plaintiff's challenge to be without merit.

         2. Interrogatory No. 2

         INTERROGATORY NO. 2: Identify any and all documents relating to prison staff training and education as pertains to IST [In-Service Training] Code B2670, title DOM [Department Operations Manual], Chapter 5 Art 2 [§ 51020.1 et seq.] Use of Force Rv.

         RESPONSE TO INTERROGATORY NO. 2: Responding party states that documents from the Use of Force ...


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